2017 UK target: Incoming Fox a 'vicious defender'

2017 UK target: Incoming Fox a 'vicious defender'

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2017 UK target: Incoming Fox a 'vicious defender'

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Jarred Vanderbilt is a five-star forward in the Class of 2017. He's a Kentucky target and former AAU teammate of incoming Wildcats point guard De'Aaron Fox.

Jarred Vanderbilt is a five-star forward in the Class of 2017. He’s a Kentucky target and former AAU teammate of incoming Wildcats point guard De’Aaron Fox.

INDIANAPOLIS – Jarred Vanderbilt knows what Kentucky is getting with incoming freshman point guard De’Aaron Fox, his former Houston Hoops teammate on the AAU circuit.

“He’s a leader on the court, a great facilitator, and he can also finish. He balances it out well with scoring and getting his teammates better,” said Vanderbilt, a five-star power forward and Wildcats target in the Class of 2017. “And he’s a vicious defender, on-ball defender. He knows how to pace a team and stay poised.”

Vanderbilt also frequently played against incoming UK freshman guard Malik Monk on the recruiting circuit.

“It’s a one-two punch,” he said of Fox and Monk teaming up in the same backcourt for the Cats. “It’ll be hard to guard both of them.”

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* Calipari wants to sign 6-8 QB whosed dad played for Bowden at FSU.

Might the 6-foot-8, 200-pound Vanderbilt, ranked the No. 11 overall prospect in the rising senior class by all four major recruiting services, follow their lead and head to Kentucky? That decision doesn’t seem close as Vanderbilt said he still hasn’t pared his list of schools below 15 and has not scheduled any visits.

Six of eight predictions in the 247Sports “Crystal Ball” – including that of national analyst Jerry Meyer – favor Kentucky over Texas and Kansas, among many other programs in pursuit of perhaps the top power forward in the country. Although he doesn’t have regular contact with the Cats, saying “they mostly talk to my parents,” Vanderbilt has always spoken highly of UK.

“I really like their style of play,” he said. “They’re a transition team, got a lot of athletes, like myself, and Coach Cal is a great coach; he knows how to develop and get you to the next level.”

Through his first five games on this spring’s Nike Elite Youth Basketball League circuit, where John Calipari and Longhorns coach Shaka Smart sat together Saturday to watch him, Vanderbilt averaged 15.8 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.4 steals.

Kyle Tucker can be reached at (502) 582-4361. Email him at ktucker@courier-journal.com .

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2017 UK target: Incoming Fox a 'vicious defender'
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